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First Love

“Nevertheless I have this against you, that you have left your first love.“  (Revelation2:4)

Who (or what) is your first love?  For some it may be money, or possessions, or sex, or drugs, or food, or family, or a job, or social status.  For most of us, I would guess the most honest answer to this question is that we love ourselves more than anything.  Think about it.  What has the utmost priority in your life?  What comes first?  What would you sacrifice anything for, do anything to protect, leave all your other loves to follow?  What would you die for?

Worship is all about firsts.  The modern term worship comes from the old English term worthscipe which simply means to ascribe worth to something.  When we worship, we are telling God He is “worthy of it all.”  We are saying to Him that we would sacrifice anything for Him, do anything to protect our relationship with Him, that we would leave all our other loves to follow Him.

Love is completely selfless.  It is focused on something else and puts that something else before itself every time, in every way, at any cost.  But much of our worship (corporate worship anyway) seems rooted in the opposite of love – fear.  Fear is selfish.  It is worried about reputation, about looking foolish, about how it sounds, about whether people like it or not, about whether people are “getting it” or not, about holding the band together, about missing the next chord or messing up the beat or forgetting the words. 

Fear isn’t focused on anyone but itself.  That’s why Scripture tells us “there is no fear in love” (1 John 4:18).  We cannot truly worship (ascribe worth to) God when we are secretly putting Him second.  And if we’re all honest with ourselves, we know there have been times when we’ve stood in the front of a sanctuary and played through an entire set without God even crossing your mind. 

We’ve sung the song a hundred times, we had a fight with our spouse that morning (and isn’t it always on a Sunday morning? The devil knows how to keep us off our game), we only got 3 hours of sleep the night before, we know we need to confront a team member about something after the service, the countdown timer is moving faster than it’s supposed to, the monitor mix sounds off, why is the lead pastor making that face?…  We can do a whole service without even thinking about God.  Thank God the worship going on in the room doesn’t rely on us! 

But then there are the times when all you can think about is God, and you look up and suddenly realize the service is over and you have no idea how you got there.  Everybody has left (including the rest of the worship team), and you’re still standing there singing the closing song to an empty room.  Those are the times we long for.  Those are the reasons why we do what we do.  This is what we want others to understand.  And those are the times when we leave our worship changed.  We are a freer inside, closer to God, more refreshed, more alive, more at peace, more empowered to change the world.  This is what worship is all about!

So who (or what) is your first love?  Spend some time right now meditating on that question.  Be completely honest with yourself.  You can’t change what you deny is true.  And once you’ve figured it out, talk to God about it.  Journal, pray, and then when you come to the end of yourself, when you come to the place where God speaks, where He moves inside of you, where He changes something, where He does something new – then respond to Him with all you’ve got – put everything else in second place and WORSHIP HIM!

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